Page 2 | Found out my boyfriend is my distant cousin

(126 Posts)
Pink2121 Mon 27-Sep-21 09:17:23

I have been dating my boyfriend for 15.months. I have recently started researching my family tree and in doing so, I have found out that we are 4th cousins. We share a great great great grandfather. I was shocked when I heard it and very upset. Any advice on what I should do. Should we stay together or go our separate ways. We are happy together but this has completely changed the way I feel for its a very difficult situation..

OP’s posts: |
Generallystruggling Mon 27-Sep-21 09:48:48

I wouldn’t worry about it, you’d never have known any different had you not researched your family tree. You can legally marry your first cousin, it’s a bit gross but people do it.

ScottChegg Mon 27-Sep-21 09:49:26

The amount of dna you share will be miniscule, honestly. I found out via dna testing that my late grandparents were 5th cousins and they never would have known that.

MrsScrubbithatescleaning Mon 27-Sep-21 09:49:46

If you’ve traced using genealogy documents and you’re only 4th cousins, there’s a definite possibility that somewhere along the line, someone wasn’t a legitimate offspring and you and he might not actually be related at all.

Maybe do a DNA test for a more accurate result?

WoodchipNightmares Mon 27-Sep-21 09:53:28

It wouldn't worry me.

First cousin marriage is legal - but ill advised if you want children as it does add risks. They share 12.5% of their DNA.

By comparison, fourth cousins share 0.2% of their DNA.

TiredButDancing Mon 27-Sep-21 09:55:20

A great great great grandfather? To be worked up about that is ridiculous quite frankly. If it affects how you feel about him, then sure, end the relationship. But there's certainly no scientific/genetic reason to end it on this basis. Most people couldn't tell you the full name of their great grandparents, never mind any details of their great great great grandfather.

girlmom21 Mon 27-Sep-21 09:55:22

It's strange that people are using the "well you can marry your 1st cousin so it's fine".

Just because that's legal doesn't mean it's not really weird.

OP I don't know how I'd feel in this situation but you said it's changed the way you feel about him so you need to take some time to properly consider whether or not you personally can continue the relationship.


SquareYellow Mon 27-Sep-21 09:59:39

@girlmom21 yes, being in that situation none of us know how we would feel and if it turns of those romantic feelings, it would be terrible and sad that the relationship ends but nothing you can force.
OP, I hope you and your partner can work through your feelings and make it work. I would also be in the overthinking and worrying and researching category.

Aroundtheworldin80moves Mon 27-Sep-21 10:00:35

PIL discovered they were second cousins... at their wedding! DH and BIL are reasonably normal.

Its probably a lot more common than we think, especially in families that have lived on one area for generations.

Gncq Mon 27-Sep-21 10:04:25

This is probably more common than people know, because most people don't bother researching a family tree!

I'm in Derbyshire, where families have lived for generations, marry locals, who have offspring that marry locals and I'm pretty sure no one really keeps a stringent check on what happened 4 generations ago!

SparkyBlue Mon 27-Sep-21 10:05:07

I'd have thought this type of thing would be very common. It wouldn't really bother me at all to be honest.

Etonmessisyum Mon 27-Sep-21 10:07:50

If you hadn’t done the family tree you’d have never known so I would as others have said continue on with your relationship. There’s likely many people out there with someone closer than 4th cousin and don’t know. I wouldn’t be distraught or upset about this it’s a non issue.

Spindrifting Mon 27-Sep-21 10:07:53

What on earth is concerning you about going out with your fourth cousin? You're behaving as though you just discovered he's your brother!

Ifyoudontlikeitdosomethingelse Mon 27-Sep-21 10:08:41

I can see why it was a shock OP.

But there's a lot of other DNA separating you both. And really, we are all related somewhere down the line.

Have you spoken about it together?
It may just take a bit of time to sink in and to feel normal again.

Plumtree391 Mon 27-Sep-21 10:09:27

Fourth cousins is nothing, I don't know why you are worried about that. You have to be closer related to have any problems with consanguinity and even then, most people don't.

Chill and enjoy your relationship.

SpringSparrow Mon 27-Sep-21 10:12:21

I don’t think you should worry about this. If you google fourth cousin dna, it’s possible that you don’t share any dna at all. You share one great great great grandparent out of 32 great great great grandparents. On average we all have between 900 - 1500 fourth cousins. I recently got in touch with my second cousin once removed and I was surprised that we only share about 1.5% dna. That’s a closer relationship than you with your fourth cousin. I just googled, fourth cousins share on average 0.2% dna.

Shuffleuplove Mon 27-Sep-21 10:12:26

That’s hilarious! How ridiculous to get worked up about it! It’s hardly “happy birthday uncle Dad” is it?!

knittingaddict Mon 27-Sep-21 10:15:07

Even if you were first cousins it would be legal, although I accept that it would be weird for most people as their cousins are very much part of the family, rather than a romantic interest.

Having done our family history 4th cousins are nothing and it wouldn't bother me at all. Then again when I did the FH it turns out that my great grandparents were first cousins from the same small village. He died in the First World War, so my mum never knew her grandfather and my grandmother was dead by the time I found out. Obviously that was "interesting", but still perfectly legal.

Rural villages in the past must have had a relatively small genetic pool to chose from, so I imagine that marrying 4th cousins was fairly common. All the family trees I've studied in villages seemed to have the same families marrying each other.

TrampolineForMrKite Mon 27-Sep-21 10:17:28

My parents are distantly related via siblings in the 1820s. It’s a non issue! Don’t sweat it.

FlouncingBabooshka Mon 27-Sep-21 10:21:55

OP, the Queen and Prince Philip were third cousins.

Clovacloud Mon 27-Sep-21 10:22:33

You share very, very little, if indeed any DNA with 4th cousins. I have a load who don’t even show up as a DNA match.

We live on a small island, you are going to have literally hundreds of 4th cousins. I think my husband is probably 4th cousins with most of Suffolk. Honestly I wouldn’t worry about it.

purplesequins Mon 27-Sep-21 10:24:26

as pp say.
genetically you are far enough away for that to cause issues.

but if you feel that you can't continue the relationship that's absolutely valid and it's ok to end it.

RevolvingPivot Mon 27-Sep-21 10:24:29

Wow what are the odds!!

Mamamamasaurus Mon 27-Sep-21 10:24:32

My ILs are first cousins. As we're both sets if grandparents on DH's side

What's your concern? Do you have health issues which may impact any children you may have?

Mamamamasaurus Mon 27-Sep-21 10:24:44

Sets OF*

KingsleyShacklebolt Mon 27-Sep-21 10:25:02

Well if it's changed the way you feel about him, that's for you to decide how you want to proceed. Entirely up to you.

However I echo everyone else saying that your genetic relationship is extremely distant. If you go back far enough, everyone's related to everyone else, especially in towns/counties where people didn't move around much in the past. On average, you share 0.2% of your boyfriend's DNA. A first cousin would be on average 12.5%.

It's really not worth worrying about.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in